Thursday, 3 October 2013

In Session in my October show: Helena Dukic

There's something about the songs of Helena Dukic that sets them apart from everything else I'm listening to at the moment.  Perhaps it's because she's a classically trained artist coming at popular music from an entirely different angle and armed with a different artistic template than most of the performers I encounter.  Or perhaps she's just got that certain indefinable magic about her that all great artists have.

The history I refer to includes spells at Music Academy Zagreb and Cambridge University after a childhood spent playing the piano.  She might easily have ignored the world of what you and I listen to all together, but thankfully she hasn't and the refreshing affection she clearly brings to her work is comparable with, say, David Lynch's forays into music following a long upbringing in film.  Not that there's anything remotely similar about what they produce, but the unconstrained abandon and sheer job evident in the works of both make for a similarly fascinating listening experience.  Except, with due deference to Lynch's work, I like what Dukic does more.

I first encountered her on the Audio Antihero benefit compilation earlier this year.  Even in such exalted company as the great Jeffrey Lewis and Darren Hayman, Helena stood out and the song she contributed - 'Come Along' - is one of my favourites of the year.  I immediately approached her to do a session for the show, she agreed and the results can be heard on my Dandelion Radio show this month.

The three tracks she's recorded for us all have that sublime, magical quality I referred to earlier.   If I had to single one out, I'd probably go for 'Don't Know How to Hate You', which has a beguiling quality that has allowed it to settle in my head and make a little nest there, right next to 'Come Along'.  But thankfully I don't need to and can hear them all along with all the great stuff Helena has placed on her soundcloud site too.  Give it a visit: it's free, in more than one sense of the world.

Here's a (non-session) taster: Magic Toy Shop

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